Digging into Alek Manoah’s start against Paul Skenes in Triple-A

Photo credit:James P. McCoy
Nick Prasad
1 month ago
Baseball’s grassroots arms Alek Manoah and Paul Skenes faced off in Triple-A action on Tuesday night. The Toronto Blue Jays Triple-A club, the Buffalo Bisons, took the field against the Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A team, the Indianapolis Indians.
If you love baseball, you’ll love the romantic matchup of two first-round draft picks of different draft classes. Right-handed pitcher Alek Manoah was selected first-round by the Blue Jays in the 2019 draft out of West Virginia University. Right-handed prospect Paul Skenes was selected 1st overall in the 2023 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates; Skenes attended Louisiana State University.
The significance of this matchup is two NCAA powerhouse chuckers battling it out on a Triple-A field. One of these pitchers is trying to iron out his game and get back to the show while the other is building anticipation and experience in hopes of getting an early call to PNC Park.
Blue Jays Nation writer Cam Lewis touched on Manoah’s outing, how effective he was, and whether it’s a case for a quick return. To recap, Manoah pitched a strong six innings, giving up one run on one hit, which happened to be a home run. He only walked two and struck out a whopping 12 batters. Paul Skenes wasn’t too far off this line, but we’ll get to that. Let’s zone in on how Manoah displayed.
Starting with his physical presence, Manoah was a unit off the bump and showed out to be more athletic and prepared. He primarily worked from the stretch and used a leg-kick with the pond empty. He maintained composure and a steady tempo throughout his outing.
The Toronto righty kept the running game controlled, averaging 1.2 seconds to the dish with runners on base. One small change observed in Manoah was his arm angle and arm slot. The arm slot seemed to be over the top emphasized, and his back hip was hinged better with the weight on the rear ready for fire. The delivery was consistent and the finish was wholesome.
Manoah’s fastball command was on point and the off-speed and breaking options were extremely effective. The heater sat consistent at 95 mph with the sinker moving vertical at 94 mph. His out-pitch was the slider which created good spin, deep break and sat 83-84 mph; this pitch was highly effective. Overall, Manoah is slowly looking like his old self while things are reforming.
Paul Skenes ranks third among the top 100 MLB prospects to date. The 2023 first-overall pick is vastly developing and painting a major-league image for himself. Skenes brings a noticeable presence to the ball field with a tough physical structure. He stands a towering 6’6” and weighs 235 lbs. His strength runs full-body with a very dynamic arm.
The monster-righty kicks high with his lead leg, generating a controlled power at a three-quarter arm slot, and stays balanced the full way. He has a good repeated delivery and stays composed. He employs three main pitch options with great value in them all. His fastball has an 80-scale rating on the 20-8-0 scouting scale. This pitch has touched up to 102 mph while cruising between 98-99 mph.
The small bit of bite on the fastball, accompanied by the velocity misses barrels on a regular spot-up basis. He located this well and will dot the box very well. The changeup is very effective, shaving 12-14 mph off and dialling it low in the zone to miss barrels. His out-pitch is his slider that generates a slashing break in the upper 80s. This pitch comes out like a fastball and ends up a sharp thruway exit away from the wheelhouse.
Skenes is highly effective and very dialed in his outings. In this matchup against the Buffalo Bisons, he also pitched six innings of shutout baseball, giving up four hits, one walk, and striking out seven. In April, he posted a 0.43 ERA.
This matchup was one of the books and definitely worth the minor league ticket to see two possible ace big league arms square off!

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